Gina Lollobrigida, who for decades embodied the Italian stereotype of Mediterranean beauty and was dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world” after the title of one her movies, died in Rome Monday at age 95, per the AP. Her agent confirmed, without providing details, but Lollobrigida had surgery in September to repair a thigh bone broken in a fall. She returned home and said she had quickly resumed walking. “Lollo,” as she was lovingly nicknamed by Italians, began making movies in Italy just after the end of World War II.
Besides The World’s Most Beautiful Woman in 1955, career highlights included Golden Globe-winner Come September, with Rock Hudson; Trapeze; Beat the Devil, a 1953 John Huston film starring Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones; and Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell, which won Lollobrigida Italy’s top movie award, a David di Donatello, as best actress in 1969. In Italy, she worked with some of the country’s top directors following the war, including Mario Monicelli, Luigi Comencini, Pietro Germi, and Vittorio De Sica.
Lollobrigida began her career in beauty contests, posing for the covers of magazines and making brief appearances in minor films, but she quickly transitioned to major Italian and international movies. A drawn portrait of her graced a 1954 cover of Time magazine, in which an article about Italian movie-making likened her to a “goddess.” While Lollobrigida played some dramatic roles, her characters were most popular in lighthearted comedies, like the Bread Love movies. Lollobrigida also was an accomplished sculptor, painter, and photographer. With her camera, she roamed the world from what was then the Soviet Union to Australia. (Read more obituary stories.)